The Smoke

indexVocals- Mick Rowley, lead guitar- Mal Luker, bass- John “Zeke” Lund, drums- Geoff Gill, rhythm guitar- Phil Peacock

The appearance of The Smoke on a couple of recent compilations of British music has brought My Friend Jack to the attention of many, but little is known about The Smoke.  The Smoke had released a single as The Shots in 1965 but this was unsuccessful. My Friend Jack became a minor hit in the UK, although the first line “My friend Jack eats sugarlumps”  got the record banned as sugar lumps were a main vehicle for delivering LSD.  However, the band was more successful on the continent, particularly in Germany, and on the pirate radio stations. The name The Smoke was chosen as the band came from Yorkshire where “the smoke” was a term for London.

The Shots had been a five piece band also including Phil Peacock on guitar but he left before the band became the Smoke. They had been supported in their quest for stardom by Alan Brush who was a self-made millionaire and gravel pit owner. The band released a single called “Keep a Hold of What You’ve Got”, but it was not successful. Without Peacock the band recorded some demos as The Smoke releasing the first single “My Friend Jack.” This prompted an album called It’s Smoke Time but this was released in Germany only.

After a second single If the Weather’s Sunny the band moved to Island Records and made a few singles including It Could Be Wonderful and Utterly Simple. The latter was written by Traffic’s Dave Mason and appears on Traffic’s Dear Mr Fantasy album. The Smoke’s version was never actually released as a single although it does appear on the My Friend Jack compilation. .

The band recorded three singles under the name Chords Five as well as a few further tracks as The Smoke in the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, these did not even match the minor success of My Friend Jack. Geoff Gill later emerged as songwriter and producer for Boney M.

—- Information from makingtime.co.uk

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1967 album It’s Smoke Time

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  • If The Weather’s Sunny
  • My Friend Jack

Singles

  • My Friend Jack [Demo Version]
  • Sydney Gill [Alternate Version]
  • Utterly Simple